Jap Ji Sahib-Naad Translation | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
  • Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Jap Ji Sahib-Naad Translation


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Sikh 80 ji

Do you have a link for this -- a source document. I would like to see where it comes from just as Jasleen ji would like to know. I have a hunch about this but would like to see a source document first.

Or is this the source?

Naad Translation by
Mukhia Singh Sahib Guruka Singh Khalsa and friends
25 Walnut Circle
Española, NM 87532
May 2004
God and We are One
This is our True Identity.
The Doer of everything.
Beyond fear.

If so I have an idea Jasleen why it is the way it is.

Thank you
Oct 14, 2007
Hi aadji,
Yes, that you have stated is the source document. But one can Googl eout there should be no problem.
Could you kindly upload/post the translation[english] that is generally acceptable to you. Aman ji had also posted one translation that is also full of mistakes.
I think english translations are generally not as good as gurmukhi. BUt I get the point.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Sikh80 ji,

I did find the document as a pdf file through Google. There is some background to the translation. Which will take me time to reconstruct. Maybe later tonight. I think the background for this particular translation will clear up some of the clouds that hang over English translations in general. Gurmukhi is always better. In English translations, what sometimes may look like mistakes are not actually mistakes. The translator is trying to bring two languages into relationship so the central meaning is carried through. But translation is an art -- and an art that is changing with the philosophies of the times.

I have no problem with this translation. There are some advantages to the approach taken by Mukhtia and Gurusha Singh. My own preference in English translation is Sant Singh Khalsa but then there are those who find him unacceptable. Let me do some study and come back to this.

Then of course there are just plain old mistakes. Which I am making a collection of and then what to do with them I do not know.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Back veer ji

I'll start first with this. The translation we are talking about comes from Espanola New Mexico, the home of Ashram Guru Ram Das and the headquarters of many 3HO based organizations (e.g., Sikhnet to name one).

The overall difficulty of doing a Gurmukhi to English translation is described by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa, a respected member of SPN , also living in Espanola New Mexico, and also a 3HO who has completed several translations of Gurbani. Here is what she says, and then I will go back to the original issue raised about Jap (u) ji. She talks about getting ready to translate Anand Sahib.

So to translate the Anand Sahib was a step more than simply text, subtext and spiritual experience. To translate the Anand Sahib was to attempt to understand those terms in the context of the map of reality the Guru was describing. The words: Anand, Bani, Guru, Shabad, Sach, Amrit, Naam, Har, Ananhat, and others. What did they mean – not in English equivalents – but in relationship with each other? What world, by playing together, where they describing? Because if you just look at English equivalents, you loose the way those words are working together and defining each other. And this was the problem translating the Anand Sahib. The map of reality created by the English language and the map of reality created by Gurbani are not the same map.

So what sources did I draw on to try to discover and understand this map?
  • Dictionaries – incomplete, yes, but still they gave me an initial direction.
  • Lectures by the Siri Singh Sahib
  • Discussions with Dr. Balkar Singh
  • One brief and beautiful meeting with the late Bhai Avtar Singh. Me, asking questions through his son, Bhai Kultar Singh, trying to bridge generations and cultures, languages and spiritual experience.
  • As always, looking at it from the inside through meditation
Is the map complete? No. It’s just begun. But what’s important is that this translation of the Anand Sahib is not about translating a word of Gurmukhi into a word of English or even a line of Gurmukhi into a few lines of English. It’s an attempt to understand that underlying map of reality indicated by Gurbani and communicate it in proportional relationship through the English language.

Here is the entire essay.

Ek Ong Kaar ji has translated Anand Sahib -- An example of the first few lines. It is very different from other English translations.

There is a state of consciousness
Where every action
The reality of the soul.

Oh mother -
This consciousness
Is with me now
For I have found
The Teacher of Truth
Whose wisdom awakens me
To my own Infinite Reality.

I have found
The Teacher of Truth
Whose wisdom takes me
From the darkness of my own
Ignorance and ego
To the light
Of my Inner Divinity.

Mukhia Singh Sahib Guruka Singh Khalsa are also part of the Espanola New Mexico 3HO community. Gurukha ji has done several translations of the daily Hukamanama for Sikhnet when Sukha Singh Akaali has had to travel. Gurukha ji will say at times "I don't know what is going to come out of my mouth" meaning that he too is looking for the glimmer or grasp of a divine map that will connect the original text of Gurbani onto the English language. This is how the naad fits in to their translation of Jap(u)ji "The Words of Siri Guru Granth Sahib. These Words are expressed in Naad Yoga, the Technology of the Sound Current. When we speak and sing the Words of the Gurus, we may experience the elevation of consciousness which the technology of Naad Yoga induces. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Gurbani

The last sentence in the paragraph is not consistent with Sikh understanding of Word or Shabad, in my opinion, for what it is worth.

There is always the question of what gets lost in translation. That never goes away. But sometimes "what gets lost" is not a mistake or inaccuracy. Aman ji's translation worked for me. I am always wondering -- what is Guruji getting at. Then I try to go back and understand the Gurmukhi in relation to the English words. An even bigger loss in translation, bigger than the meaning given to words, is the loss of the poetic form of the shabads. That is another reason to study a shabad in Gurmukhi and try to hear it. Sometimes the sound patterns are simply magical.

Please forgive me for talking on and on about this. Jasleen ji, it is your turn now. What is your reaction to all of this?
Apr 4, 2007
i'm afraid i don't have anything insightful to say, except that the 3HO translation (and other attempts at "poetic" translation) *feels* weird to me.

i'd rather recite in the original language, and use translations for better understanding. so for me, the closest to "word for word" translations are what i'm looking for.

for people who recite in english, i guess the poetic translations make sense.

i suppose it's just personal preference.

FWIW, i have a poetic translation nitnem gutka done by a punjabi professor, and it seems weird to me too. :)
Oct 14, 2007
:)Any translation from Gurmukhi to English is likely to fall short of that was originally intended to be conveyed due to lack of the exact words in English to express the concept of the words as contained in Gurmukhi or Punjabi Bani.It is a difficult task. I find it difficult sometime. My profession includes the translation of technical documents from one international language to English. Even though both languages are rich but one fails to find an exact match for the equivalent in the language.

Punjabi that is inscripted/contained in Granth sahib is not a prose. There is difficulty in converting the words to express the meaning.

1. Because there may not be exact word to express the concept [like Baley Baley!...How to put the feelings in the words of english......:)]

2. Because of the poetic nature of the text.

3. Because of excessive usage of metaphor.

4.Our limited knowledge of the scripture.

5. No one is a master of the dialect of the Granth sahib ji, hence the difficulty.

6. Words, in themselves , are not a perfect medium to transport the thoughts.

7. We do not know in the context of which Guru sahibs have authored particular lines. Things become difficult for us also who have a working knowledge of Gurmukhi.

Hope it satisfies.:down:
Sorry for mistakes.

I have never read the Mool Mantra in English. Today I have read it and I could only smile.

I hope some professionals may do the job to translate the work of Dr, Sahib Singh ji., It should be fine.

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.